Big words I've put together that mean, if I am not proving how valuable I am, you can't and won't love me.
Since I can remember in early childhood and throughout my formative years, this is how I was conditioned and taught about the way love works. What I know now, and for the record - Horseshit!
For a variety of reasons, many people in recovery suffer from some sort of performance-based acceptance. Whether like me, it stems from childhood or you are trying to prove you are a new person; performance-based acceptance will ultimately wear you out, let you down and destroy your desire for recovery.
When we find recovery, typically we have accepted the critical concepts of:
1. We have a problem
2. A God, bigger than us can save us
3. Surrendered our will to that God
For me, that God is The One and Only true God, King of kings and Lord of lords. The God who sent his Son to die for our sins and to pave a road back to Him. While this will not be an article on my God; my beliefs and this fact does bear great weight in my thoughts and writings.
Additionally, I feel compelled to point out that our brains are very complex and unique components of our humanity. No one can explain why some form addictions, and some don’t. Why neurol pathways form one way for some, but not others. And, while I am neither smart enough or bold enough to profess to understand this either; I am a man that has been transformed by his beliefs and a man brave enough to try to live out that transformation daily, prior to completion as I trust God in the process.
To this end, I will say that un-ringing a bell is impossible. However, changing the sound of future rings is completely possible. This bell analogy is the “process” I employ to trust God to continue my transformation. Once we fully surrender our will to that of God, our life changes. We see things differently. We process information and input differently. Ultimately, this should mean that we respond differently to information and input. In the case of the bell analogy, if you add or subtract weight to the outer casing of the bell and or the clangor, the sound of the bell will change.
Even during what may have been a rebellious youth, our addictions, or our lost ways, God has loved us. Our imperfections and sins have never been a barrier preventing God from loving us. Murder, homosexuality, adultery, drugging, promiscuity... nothing. Nothing can stand in the way of God’s love for us. However, these selfish actions and lifestyles do stand in the way of us accepting God’s love. Our brains (our neurol pathways having been “re-wired”) tell us we know what is better for us; by way of our vice’s, by way of living for our will. We begin to believe the lies that no one can love us unless we earn that love or attention. We justify our vices, our reckless lifestyles, with the premise that we are seeking love. The horrifically sad part is that this all happens subconsciously. Over time, our hearts are hardened by our actions. We continue to hear the same tone of the ringing bell and we accept that tone as never a being able to change. We believe we cannot un-ring the bell; and while we are not wrong, we never consider altering the casing or the clangor of the bell to change the tone.
When we surrender our will to God, truly surrender our will, we begin to be transformed. Our heart begins to soften to the possibility that we are loveable, just as we are. We begin to believe and understand that God wasn’t the problem, we are. By allowing God to change our hearts (our clangor) we change the tone of our ringing bell. Additionally, as our tone begins to change, our outer casing (our lives) is also being transformed by God. We begin to believe in our true purpose; we begin to believe in what we were originally created for, eternal peace and happiness. We begin to believe and understand that all the external stimuli, all the drama, all the performance art that we have made a life of, is irrelevant to whether we are loved by God or not. And, once we believe that; we can begin to love ourselves, thus allowing others to love us – as we are.
Loving ourselves, allowing others to love us as we are, takes daily surrender and trust in God. Our humanity makes us susceptible to the forces of pride and the desire for control of our lives. This is why I said earlier, “...that God wasn’t the problem, we are”. Without daily surrender, we are always susceptible to performance-based acceptance. The world and the enemy will always tell us that we need to be better, stronger, richer, prettier, thinner... and so many other lies that taking back our will over God’s will; trusting ourselves over trusting God, becomes extremely tempting. Always remember; trusting our instincts and living for our will and not God, is what drove us to performance-based acceptance.
Use caution my friends and learn to trust and live for God’s will.
For the record - this is my only option for life.